Current Events: The Importance of Vaccinations
According to the Center for Disease Control, as of August 11, 2018, there have been 124 individual cases of measles confirmed in 22 states and the District of Colombia. Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine Professor at USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, Jose Montero, MD and Jill Roberts, PhD, assistant professor in the College of Public Health, explain the importance of vaccinations.
“I think what we have is a couple generations of people living now who have not seen measles, who have not seen it as a threat, and therefore, are questioning if vaccines are really needed,” says Montero. In addition, false data spreads far and wide on social media and sometimes is endorsed by celebrities, and it’s difficult for experts to combat. “Every single public health, medical, nursing, government agency in every country on the planet recommends vaccination. All of them. There’s a reason for that. It’s best practices, it’s efficacious, it’s safe, and that’s the best way to protect your kids from preventable diseases,” says Roberts.
Current Events: Amazon is Disrupting Health Care, with Dr. Kevin Sneed
July 13, 2018
Amazon announced a partnership with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway to address the need for better health care and how it’s delivered to its U.S. employees. “Health care and education are probably the last two areas that have really not been disrupted in a major manner,” says Kevin Sneed, PharmD, senior associate vice president of USF Health and dean of the College of Pharmacy. It is unknown what areas of the health care industry will be disrupted, but there is speculation that pharmacy will be one. According to Dr. Sneed, Amazon’s presence in pharmacy would be a positive one because, “the patient will be much more empowered and eventually, the role of the pharmacist will be much more important in terms of engaging a patient as a clinician and not so much in dispensing product to the patient.”
Current Events: The Global Nursing Shortage, with Dr. Victoria Rich
May 22, 2018
“By 2025 we’re going to be short over 56,000 registered nurses within the state of Florida,” says Victoria Rich, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing, senior associate vice president of USF Health, and nursing professor. This shortage is a problem around the world and it’s not because of a lack of interest in the profession. Thanks to medical advancements, people are living longer and that means living with chronic illness, taking multiple medications, and needing more complex care. “You need more nurses who understand that and can think in a complex way,” Dr. Rich says.
Current Events: Safety and Preparedness Management with Don Mullins
November 30, 2017
“The strength of USF and USF Health is its people,” said Don Mullins, director of safety and preparedness for USF Health, referring to the challenges faced by the organization while preparing for a severe storm like Hurricane Irma and its aftermath.
Don Mullins, who joined USF Health three years ago, coordinates disaster preparedness efforts among emergency management, university police, and facilities management at the University of South Florida, including the faculty physicians and staff -at the Morsani Center for Advanced Health Care.
Bonded not just by profession but by purpose, the USF Health community teamed up with key leaders throughout Tampa Bay to provide humanitarian relief.
“It really comes down to coordination and having good working relationships with everyone, both our internal and external partners,” he said.
As soon as radar began to detect impending storms, Mullins’ safety protocols were put to the test. Mullins worked closely with teams that began by assessing community needs and coordinating the pick-up and delivery of goods and medications. Soon after Hurricane Irma, which was forecast to cause much destruction, medical attention was readily available at USF Health patient care sites and nearby shelters.
“We know that for some of our clients, like our obstetrics and gynecology and cancer patients and some other types of patients, delaying care is detrimental to their long-term health. We know that being closed is not the best option for those patients, and so our number one priority during Irma was to open our doors and continue to provide care,” Mullins said.
Staffing the clinic was part of Mullins’ emergency preparedness plan. The university closed early to allow USF support staff and clinicians time to prepare their families and homes for the impending storm.
“Every one of us wants to make sure that our own families are taken care of so that when the order comes – we’re ready to go back and serve our communities — that we’re capable of doing that without feeling like we are abandoning our families.”
The care that USF Health provided reached far beyond campus and the Tampa Bay region. As locals began to recover from Irma, Puerto Ricans confronted the ravages of Hurricane Maria. Again, having strong internal and external relationships, with a strong safety protocol and disaster relief plan in place allowed USF Health to extend health care to communities on the island, where roads were full of debris and people were cut off from running water and electricity
“Our folks on the ground, from USF, really focused on helping those people who had little access to health care.” Mullins said.
Hurricane Maria left rural areas in ruin, with limited medical facilities and medications. Working with traditional partners such as Tampa General Hospital, Florida Hospital and BayCare, and not-so-common partners such as Jabil and the Tampa Bay Rays, USF Health was able to send tons of donated medicine, specialty baby formula and medical supplies, as well as faculty physicians to help provide care providers.
“Partnerships are the hallmark of what makes USF Health so effective in all the communities where we work.”
Once supplies arrived on the island, distribution was a challenge. The island’s infrastructure was severely damaged and daily shipments of basic supplies were halted.
“By working with community partnerships, we were able to actually get stuff distributed, and that’s what makes our approach so powerful,” Mullins said.
Recovery is still underway in some areas, but knowing that USF Health and key partnerships in Tampa Bay can operate effectively together in relief efforts is definitely a plan to draw upon in the future. Each deployment has its own set of challenges and learning lessons.
“Maintaining those collaborative relationships is the cornerstone to making sure that we’re ready to respond when we’re called upon next time,” Mullins said.